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Firehouse Dalmatian

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Always there when times are ruff.

is hard
to pronounce,

so the children,
pointing, say
fire truck dog.
—"Simplicity", poem by Billy Collins

You know Dalmatians, right? Those adorable white dogs covered in several black spots.

Aside from being the stars of a certain Disney movie, Dalmatians are also recognized as the dog most likely seen with firefighters, often serving no purpose other than being a mascot. This wasn't always the case; in the old days Dalmatians were chosen to help the fire department because the breed works well with horses. Since no fire department has used horse-driven wagons in nearly a century, there's no real reason to use Dalmatians over any other breed, but firefighters and Dalmatians have been associated with each other in our culture for so long it's unlikely this will ever change.

Sometimes, the dog will assist firefighters in their rescue missions. This is something much more common in fiction, though it can happen in Real Life. In a World of Funny Animals, anthropomorphic dalmatians are likely to be portrayed as firefighters themselves.


Sub-Trope to Animal Occupation Stereotypes. Compare Saint-Bernard Rescue and Sled Dogs Through the Snow.


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  • This commercial for Alpo dog food features a Dalmatian working with some firefighters, and later being fed the aforementioned dog food.
  • In the 1950s, Texaco had a series of metal signs with Dalmatians and a fireman's hat. One sign also shows them with a ride-on fire truck about the size of a metal wagon.

    Comic Strips 
  • Sparky from Smokey Stover is the pet Dalmatian of the titular fireman.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Osmosis Jones, the "firefighter" white blood cells trying to cool down the inflammation in Frank's throat have a Dalmatian cell.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted in the 2007 film, Firehouse Dog, as the dog (who is the movie's main protagonist) in question is an Irish Terrier named Rexxx.
  • The Royal Tenenbaums: Towards the end, Royal saves his grandsons Ari and Uzi from getting run over by a stoned Eli. When firemen respond to the scene, they bring along a Dalmatian named Sparkplug, and Royal buys him for the boys.
  • Most of the comedy in Airplane! was mined from almost-identical scenes played painfully straight in Zero Hour! (1957); alongside scenes where the pathos was twisted into jokes, some shots were left nearly or even exactly the same to genuinely heighten plot tension. In both movies, as Ted is coming in for his final approach to the airport, with anxiety high all around, there's a brief shot of two firefighters perched on their engine near the runway with a firehouse dog between them, waiting to respond. In Zero Hour! (1957) the dog is a collie, but in Airplane! they fully invoked this trope and made the dog a Dalmatian—not because it was hilarious in itself but because hitting the trope dead-on was more effective for the overall parody. (See the shots side-by side here.)
  • Die Hard: John Mc Clane promises to kiss their Dalmatian when he sees them approaching the building.

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford once visited the fire station in the book, "Clifford the Firehouse Dog", to meet his Dalmatian brother, who lives there.
  • The titular character of Dot the Fire Dog is a Dalmatian. The book starts with her relaxing and playing with the firefighters, when suddenly, the alarm blares and they jump in to the rescue, arriving at a burning house. She gets an old man out of bed with a firefighter and rescues a kitten from the house while the firefighters extinguish the fires, and the book ends with them returning to the firehouse to take their well-deserved break.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Barney & Friends: In the episode, "I Can Be a Firefighter!", Firefighter Frank visits the school with his pet Dalmatian, Chief, though the latter spends a lot of time lying down in the classroom off screen.
  • Cheers: In the episode "Pitch It Again, Sam", a Dalmatian puppy named Spotty follows Cliff into the bar and is adopted by Woody, becoming the club mascot. Eventually, a group of firefighters arrive to reclaim the puppy, but later decide to give him up to Woody when he begs to keep the animal.
  • Tuesday from Chicago Fire is a Dalmatian belonging to Ritter. She was then brought to the firehouse when she developed separation anxiety.
  • The Dog Whisperer was once called in to help a company of firefighters get their new Dalmatian puppy acclimated to their firehouse.
  • Elmo's World:
    • In the episode, "Dogs", during the photo quiz, a question about a fire truck owning a dog is deemed false, but a dog can ride on the truck, and a Dalmatian appears on the truck as it is stated.
    • The "Mike the Firefighting Dog" segment in the episode, "Firefighters", features Mike the Dalmatian, who fulfills the role of a typical firefighter when he goes off to rescue a puppy from his burning doghouse. It's later revealed to be a dream he was having.
  • In the This is Daniel Cook episode, "This is Daniel Cook at the fire station", the firefighter giving Daniel a tour around the fire station shows him a Dalmatian stuffed animal.

  • Fisher-Price's "Rescue Heroes" toyline included the characters of Billy Blazes, a fire fighter, and his Dalmatian sidekick "Smokey the Firedog." The original Smokey toy was sold with an extension ladder to rescue trapped civilians, while the "Nature Crew"/ "Force of Nature" expansion outfitted Smokey with a massive water cannon (that could launch little plastic "water torpedoes") to help put out fires.
    This daring dalmatian dashes into burning houses, then raises his ladder to bring folks down to safer ground. Whenever things get too hot to handle, just whistle for Smokey.
    Profile of Smokey the Firedog from Toy Packaging, 1998
  • Playmobil's extensive Rescue Line includes two toy packs where Dalmatian accessories accompany the firemen figures:
    • Playmobil set #5942, "Fire Fighters and Dog Duo Pack," is a small Duopack expansion released in 2010 that includes two firefighters and a Dalmatian companion.
    • Playmobil set #5981, "Fire Station," is a playset that includes two firefighters, a fire station/ command center, and a Dalmatian companion.
  • The toy line for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a character named Hot Spot who was a Dalmatian in a fireman's outfit and came with fire-fighting equipment like an axe.
  • The Thomas Wood Eco Fire Rescue destination is a fire station that includes a Dalmatian as one of its figures.
  • LEGO has released a few City fire sets with a Dalmatian dog included. Rather humorously, in the animated short Lights, Camera, Fire!, the station's dog puts out the last of the fire by peeing on it.
  • Ember Flicker Flame, the firefighter-themed Lalaloopsy doll, comes with a pet Dalmatian.

    Video Games 
  • The Huntsville Firehouse in Mystery Case Files: Huntsville features a Dalmatian waiting by the firetruck.
  • Ren & Stimpy: Fire Dogs is an adaptation of the cartoon of the same name. The player is Stimpy, and must gather equipment in the fire station before going to put out a fire. If you use Polka-Dot Paint to paint yourself to look like a Dalmatian, enemies ignore you, since Dalmatians belong in fire stations.
  • In the Scribblenauts games, Dalmatians are often seen, sometimes accompanying firefighters. One level in the first game even involves a mix-up where a firefighter has a Maine Coon cat and a boutique owner has a Dalmatian, and the player has to send the animals back to their correct owners.
  • The firefighter in Um Jammer Lammy who guides Lammy in putting out a fire in the first level is a Dalmatian.

  • Most firefighters seen in Kevin & Kell have been dalmatians.
  • Played with in anthro webcomic The Whiteboard. The local fire department is full of dalmatians, but is currently run by a German Shepherd and also has at least a few cat members, as shown here.
  • Forestdale: has the Burnsides, a family of Dalmatians with both parents working as firefighters and the youngest child aspiring to follow in their footsteps.

    Western Animation 
  • The 101 Dalmatians: The Series episode, "Hail to the Chief", has the pups dreaming of working at the fire station and earning the title of chief fire dog, although in later episodes, they remain at the Dearly Farm.
  • Doug from 101 Dalmatian Street is a firefighter dog who is the husband of Delilah the nurse dog and father of Dylan, Dolly and their 97 other puppies. In the episode, "All Fired Up", he even takes Dolly to the firehouse on take your child to work day.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: When Dr. Robotnik changes the channel to "Lifestyles of the Very Good", the first picture to appear in the intro has a Dalmatian wearing a fireman's hat while carrying a kitten in his mouth, standing next to Throbbin Screech.
  • In Arthur, Arthur is in charge of a fundraiser to buy a dalmatian puppy for the fire department in "Arthur Accused!" When he goes to Mrs. MacGrady to give her the money, she's on the phone talking about what to name the dog.
  • In the Betty Boop short, "Ding Dong Doggie", Pudgy the Pup sees a Dalmatian marching outside a firehouse. When he catches the attention of the Dalmatian, the spotted dog then encourages Pudgy to join him, but Pudgy is unable to do so due to Betty's strict orders to stay inside. Eventually, Pudgy manages to sneak out of the house undetected and catches up to the Dalmatian riding on a fire truck, where they arrive at a burning store. However, Pudgy does a horrible job at fire rescue compared to the Dalmatian and is soon confronted by Evil Living Flames. The Dalmatian is last seen when Pudgy decides to run back home, laughing at his predicament.
  • CatDog: The episodes "Trespassing" and "Fire Dog" have a Dalmatian who resides in Nearburg's fire station.
  • Tucker from the 2019 Clifford the Big Red Dog series is a Dalmatian puppy who belongs to Fire Chief Franklin and resides in the fire station.
  • Curious George: The episode, "Where's the Firedog?", has a Dalmatian named Blaze who keeps escaping from the fire station, much to the agitation of firefighter Sam and the chagrin of the other firefighters. As it turns out, the reason for Blaze's constant escapes is so he can visit another dog named Sparky at the animal shelter, whom he has made friends with, so Sam decides to adopt Sparky so that Blaze won't run away ever again.
  • In Dog City, the Dog City Fire Department consists entirely of Dalmatians.
  • Fireman Sam
    • Averted in the season 5 episode, "Bathtime for Dusty", where Dusty, a mutt, is chosen to be the firehouse dog under the condition that he takes a bath, something which he is not fond of.
    • Played straight in the CGI series with Radar the Dalmatian, who is not just the mascot of the team, but also a rescue dog who is very brave, loyal and lovable.
  • The titular characters from Hoze Houndz are anthropomorphic firefighting Dalmatians, even though they are rarely, if ever, seen doing any actual firemen work.
  • The I Am Weasel episode, "I.R. Role Model", has an unnamed Dalmatian, simply referred to as "Fire Dog", who is owned by Weasel and resides in a firehouse with him.
  • Johnny Bravo: In "Backdraft", while Carl recites a poem about the responsibilities of a fireman, Johnny decides to have some fun by ringing the bell on the fire truck, going on the second floor and sliding down the fireman's pole to repeat the process. Eventually, he then decides to press a button on the side of the truck, which causes the ladder to extend and break part of the wall. This catches the attention of Carl, so Johnny blames it on the firehouse Dalmatian, who then whimpers.
  • Krypto the Superdog: The episode, "Old Dog, New Tricks", features a Dalmatian named Smokey, who is worried that the firemen are going to ditch him in favor of a new puppy due to his age, so Streaky paints spots on Krypto so that he can pass off as Smokey.
  • In the first episode of Legend of the Three Caballeros, when Donald Duck's house burns down, the fire squad that comes to put out the fire consists of anthropomorphic Dalmatians.
  • In the Looney Tunes Cartoons short, "Firehouse Frenzy", the last essential that Daffy is about to check down is a Dalmatian, but the fire station doesn't have one. So what does he do? He sneaks up on a man with his pet Dalmatian on a leash (which is sniffing a fire hydrant), attacks said man, gives him a collar with a licence reading "Man", places him in the fire engine and paints him white with black spots.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode "Firedog Martha", Martha is read a story about a Dalmatian who puts out fires. Martha wants to put out fires too, so she goes to the fire station but they tell her she has to be a Dalmatian. She puts black and white makeup on, but they still say no.
  • Marshall from PAW Patrol is a Dalmatian who's the firefighter pup (and later medic pup) of the titular team, which also consists of Chase the police pup, Rubble the construction pup, Rocky the recycling pup, Skye the aviation pup and Zuma the water pup.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Too Pooped to Puff", when the girls rescue several citizens from a burning apartment building, a fireman uninterestingly praises them and asks them to take Spot, his pet Dalmatian, for a walk, much to their chagrin.
  • Dallie from Puppy Dog Pals is an easy-going Dalmatian who works at the fire department. In "Special Delivery", he takes Bingo and Rolly for a ride in a fire truck.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "Fire Dogs", the titular Chihuahua and cat paint themselves like Dalmatians in order to get jobs at the fire station.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Brother's Little Helper", Milhouse meets the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department's Dalmatian at a fire safety event at the school. He asks Moe if the dog can do any tricks, but Moe says the dog's so inbred that he can barely stand up, and surely enough the dog collapses on the ground.
    • The plot of "Crook and Ladder" kicks off when Homer's antics get the entire fire department covered in chili, leading to them getting mauled by their hungry Dalmatians.
  • In Rescue Squad Mater, an episode of the Cars Toon sub-series Mater's Tall Tales, Mia and Tia have their bodies painted white with black spots, like typical firehouse Dalmatians, along with bigger black mirrors that resemble dog ears, and as an added touch firefighter helmets. They even let out a "Bow-wow!" while watching Mater put out the fire.
  • The Futurama episode "The Inhuman Torch" has the Planet Express crew take over as New New York's firefighters. To look the part, they paint their ship firetruck red, and their mascot Nibbler (partially) white to resemble a firehouse Dalmatian.

    Real Life 
  • The sandwich chain Firehouse Subs goes very heavy on the fire station theme. Its tables are topped with a dalmatian-print pattern.


Video Example(s):


Firehouse Dalmatian (Airplane)

Brief shot of the firehouse Dalmatian in Airplane!. (Was a collie in the original film, Zero Hour!.)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

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